Objectives Patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) experience impaired quality of life (QoL) and psychological distress. Catheter ablation of AF can markedly improve QoL. However, the effect of catheter ablation of AF on psychological status is unknown. Hypothesis: Depression, anxiety, and QoL improve after catheter ablation in patients with paroxysmal AF.
Methods A total of 166 consecutive patients with symptomatic paroxysmal AF were examined. Eighty-two patients (55 men, mean age 55.9 ± 6.1 y) underwent catheter ablation and 84 patients (58 men, mean age 57.2 ± 5.4 years) received antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) therapy. The Self-Rating Depression Scale, Self-Rating Anxiety Scale, and Medical Outcomes Survey 36-item Short-Form questionnaires were completed by these patients at baseline, and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of follow-up. Results in the ablation group were compared with those of the AAD group.
Results In the ablationgroup, 42.7% of patients showed symptoms of depression and 37.8% showed symptoms of anxiety, which were similar to those in the AAD group. Both groups similarly displayed reduced physical and mental QoL. Catheter ablation was effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety and improving QoL, and it was superior to AAD therapy (all P < 0.001). Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that catheter ablation, no AF recurrence, avoidance of warfarin use, higher baseline depression and anxiety scores, and lower baseline QoL scores contributed to improvement of depression, anxiety, and QoL, respectively.
Conclusions Catheter ablation is more effective for improving depression, anxiety, and QoL in patients with paroxysmal AF compared with AAD therapy.